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Welch and the Ponies

Steven Thornberry

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A couple of years ago, I posted a thread on the clock pictured below. Of the two labels originally on the back, only part of one survives, and that enough to make out part of the name, "DEX." I ventured an opinion that the name might be Dexter. Emit Deriter posted in the thread a picture of a Welch clock with the same glass and indicated the name he had found for it was Smuggler.
Thanks to RM, it was clarified that the names Dexter and Smuggler were those of well-known trotting stallions of the latter half of the 19th century. I subsequently discovered a picture of the same clock as mine with a complete label, showing that the name was indeed Dexter.
This is the earlier thread.

Dexter.JPG
 
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Steven Thornberry

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While looking through Tran Duy Ly’s recent 2d edition of Welch Clocks, I came upon catalogue illustrations of three clocks with the identical door glass. They are referred to as Trotters1, Trotters 2, and Trotters 3. To my eye, the catalogue illustration of Trotters 3 seems very much like Emit’s Smuggler. Trotters 1 seems very like the Dexter. I have taken the liberty of scanning the pages from Tran’s book. As you can see, they all came with a variety of options, including different case finishes as well as alarms.

Trotters1-2.jpg Trotters3.jpg
 
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Steven Thornberry

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Further in Tran’s 2d ed. Is a photo of a clock called the Clingstone. The case is stated to be oak but is the spittin’ image of my Dexter. A little Google searching turned up that Clingstone was also a trotter of the last half of the 19th century. Both Clingstone and Dexter are, in fact, mentioned in an 1889 book titled Life with the trotters, by John Splan. Again, I take the liberty of adding a couple of pages from Tran (apologies for the one picture; it is a large book and my scanner is awkwardly positioned). (BTW, Tran has given us permission to use pictures from his books. I highly recommend them as inclusions in the libraries of anyone interested in American Clocks.)

Clingstone.jpg Clingstone2.jpg
 
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Steven Thornberry

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So, are there other horses among Welch clocks? I know of the Axtell (see below the picture from Tran’s 2d ed.). Note the door glass. Once again, Axtell was a well-known trotter from the latter half of the 19th century (see this site). (Hmm, There were two pictures of Axtells, and I cut one off, but the tablet is the same.)

There may, of course, be other horses among the Welches, but these are the ones I just happened upon.

Axtell.jpg
 
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Steven Thornberry

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So, did E.N. Welch, known for his love of things operatic, also have a love for the equine? Did he have an occasional flutter on the ponies? Well, perhaps not E.N. Welch (and 1893 was, in any event, a few years after his death), but what about his son, J. Hart Welch, who succeeded his father as President of the E. N. Welch Mfg. Company? On page 38 of the introduction to Tran’s 2d edition, Chris Bailey writes: “J. Hart Welch did not have his father’s business ability and a former Welch employee remembered him as one who took more interest in racing horses than in the clock business.” Well, I don’t always want to listen to opera, either.

I hope I haven't spoiled the surprise of Tran's 2d ed. of Welch Clocks for anyone, but I believe it will be a very useful addition to the series.
 

Steven Thornberry

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Yeah, it seems that things started seriously on the downturn after EN's death. They may have been going that way before, of course, when EN's health curtailed his participation in the business. But the 1890's were not kind to the E.N. Welch Mfr. Co.
 

Steven Thornberry

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So, I'm now toying with the idea that different features of the basic Trotters Series, such as oak, rosewood, etc., might have determined the name of the individual models. I'm not sure of this and certainly do not now have enough information to decide.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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So, are there other horses among Welch clocks? I know of the Axtell (see below the picture from Tran’s 2d ed.). Note the door glass. Once again, Axtell was a well-known trotter from the latter half of the 19th century (see this site). (Hmm, There were two pictures of Axtells, and I cut one off, but the tablet is the same.)

There may, of course, be other horses among the Welches, but these are the ones I just happened upon.
Interesting. As discussed in the original thread, racing a popular spectator sport with panache...wasn't it called the "sport of kings" so not a bad idea to associate your product with that.

If memory serves correctly, the wall clock illustrated is a miniature school house style & I believe that was the example I once owned & consigned to ROS.

RM
 

Bruce Alexander

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... On page 38 of the introduction to Tran’s 2d edition, Chris Bailey writes: “J. Hart Welch did not have his father’s business ability and a former Welch employee remembered him as one who took more interest in racing horses than in the clock business.”...
That is what I was responding to. The company didn't go out of business because they named a couple of clocks in their line after horses.
 

Steven Thornberry

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That is what I was responding to. The company didn't go out of business because they named a couple of clocks in their line after horses.
I know; I simply elaborated on "more than making it." Somewhat diferent direction.
 

Bruce Alexander

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I know; I simply elaborated on "more than making it." Somewhat diferent direction.
Yes, I understood that Steven. Seth Thomas and Sons were dominating the market anyway. I suppose I would enjoy some diversion while I was getting my rear-end handed to me, especially if I didn't particularly care for the business I had inherited....I do not know if that was the case, I'm just saying :whistle:. J. Hart Welch couldn't turn it around. That much we do know. A very interesting thread. Didn't mean to hijack it.
 

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